Preview: Ice Cats hockey

ICE HOCKEY

Head Coach: Dave Lepage, 10th year

Assistant Coaches: Mike Misner, Jeff Lovering

Ice Cats: Players from Lake Region, Fryeburg Academy and Oxford Hills

Top returning athletes: Seniors, Kaleb Currier, Nick Lepage, Trent Spaulding and Matt Buchanon; juniors, Huxley Lovering, Cam Hill and Simon Misner.

Top newcomers: junior Jordan Ohayon and sophomore Jared Chisari.

Remaining roster members: senior Taylor Fillebrown; juniors Bowen Greenleaf and Trey Dekutoski; sophomore Dominic Sclafani; freshmen Liam Chisari and Justin Mushrow.

Team strengths: Although limited in numbers, the team this year brings a good amount of hockey experience with them. Many of the top two lines have played for a while now and have played together for many years. The Ice Cats’ skating ability will keep them in games, but their conditioning will be a huge factor in determining final outcomes.

Areas needing improvement: Scoring has been a challenge for the Ice Cats over the past few years. “Creating scoring chances is one thing, but cashing in on those chances consistently will be an area that we need to continue to give effort toward,” Coach Lepage said.

Three keys to a successful season: Stay healthy, stay eligible and continue to work as a team.

Players to watch: Coach Lepage — “I think the defensive core of Lepage, Currier and Hill are all solid hockey players and can definitely add on both ends of the ice. They have strong hockey sense and can add some scoring punch when we need it. Offensively, I am looking to players like Lovering, Ohayon, Misner and Chisari to create those chances for us. All are very good skaters and have engines that don’t quit. Goalie Trent Spaulding has proven to be a solid goal tender and will keep us in some tight games.”

What lesson do you hope the athletes learned a year ago that will help them this year: “The only way this is going to work is playing together. Communication is key and having good team chemistry can actually help you win the tight games,” Coach Lepage said. “Our playoff experience from past years should provide us with enough belief to play like we mean it in the later part of the season.”

What do you like about this group: “I like that this group has fun. They are willing to take some risks, but I have also learned that we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” the coach said. “They are competitive but also have the ability to lighten it up when need be.”

What story line will you be most interested in watching develop? From a coaching perspective, Coach Lepage thinks there is no better feeling in the world than to watch a team start to believe that they can accomplish something and start believing in one another. “I really feel this team has the ability to do both — start believing that they can be a good hockey team and to believe in each other in the process,” he said.

The Schedule

Friday, Dec. 4, South Portland, 7:00

Monday, Dec. 7, Bonny Eagle, 6:10

Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Windham, 8:30

Saturday, Dec. 12, Brunswick, 4:00

Saturday, Dec. 19, Marshwood, 4:00

Wednesday, Dec. 30, at Camden, 7:00

Saturday, Jan. 2, at Bonny Eagle (USM), 6:10

Saturday, Jan. 9, York, 4:00

Wednesday, Jan. 13, at Poland (Norway Savings Arena in Auburn), 7:30

Saturday, Jan. 16, Windham, 4:00

Monday, Jan. 18, Thornton Academy, 12:30

Thursday, Jan. 21, at Mt. Ararat, 5:30

Saturday, Jan. 30, at Noble, 5:30

Wednesday, Feb. 3, at Marshwood, 6:00

Saturday, Feb. 6, at South Portland, 5:50

Monday, Feb. 8, Noble, 6:10

Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Lawrence (Winslow Suki Arena), 5:00

Monday, Feb. 15, Mt. Ararat, 6:10

  • All home games played at Bridgton Academy
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